Cash on delivery is payment terms that require the recipient of a delivery to make full payment with cash or a certified check at the time when goods are delivered to the recipient. The shipping company collects the payment and remits it to the seller. If the recipient cannot pay, then the shipping company returns the goods to the seller. Cash on delivery terms keep the seller from incurring any credit risk, and is especially valuable when there have been prior payment problems with the same buyer. However, there are transactional costs associated with cash on delivery. Also, creditworthy customers will rarely accept such terms, and will instead look for other sellers who offer more generous payment terms.
These terms have some advantages for the buyer. The buyer does not have to make a cash in advance payment, it does not have to give the seller any credit card information, and it can inspect the goods before handing over payment. Nonetheless, cash on delivery terms tend to favor the seller more than the buyer.